The readiness of a response organisation to act when mobilised constitutes a key measure of performance. Central to the notion of ‘Response Readiness’, are competent personnel who have been equipped and trained for the job.

In the context of an of an oil spill response, it is recognised that responders are often required to work in diverse and challenging environments; these difficulties may be compounded by uncertainties in local support. Thus, the effective management of health and safety risks is critical, not only to ensure the safety and well being of personnel, but also to ensure that a response can be successfully carried out.

To address this, Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) adopted a comprehensive approach that not only addresses conventional health and safety risks, but also unconventional threats posed by global terrorism and regional unrest, as well as devastation resulting from natural disasters.

This approach is underpinned by pre-employment medical examination for new recruits, coupled with scheduled health assessments during employment, inoculation against a range of diseases, and provision of both broad-based and specialised HSE training to manage conventional health and safety risks.

Unconventional risks are managed through the implementation of a travel security protocol that hinges on the subscription to specialist advice, access to information, risk assessment, and interfacing our operations with the clients’.

Contingency planning is also an integral part of the risk management framework; this is supported by a Crisis Management Plan and access to international assistance for aid provision or personnel evacuation should the need arise.

This paper will present the approach taken by OSRL to manage health and safety risks, as a showcase of how such risk management forms a cornerstone of ‘Response Readiness’ to ensure service delivery as an international tier 3 oil spill response organisation. The paper will also examine the significance of management accountability and visibility as integral components of this framework.

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